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Alderney Harbour in the 19th century

Alderney is the third largest and most northerly of the Channel Islands


The Island of Alderney, which is situated to the north east of Guernsey about twenty miles, and about forty north of Jersey, via Guernsey, and from Portland Bill, the nearest point of England, sixty miles. It lies between 49o 42' and 49o 44' north latitude, and 2o 9' and 2o 14' west longitude. It is in length from north-east to south-west, nearly four miles, and in breadth the widest part about one mile and three quarters; highest elevation 280 feet, the area about four square miles. The circumference about ten miles. Its population in 1861 was 4,033, and in 1871 about 2,443 inhabitants. Hill’s Historical Directory of the Channel Islands (1874)

The island is loyal to the English monarch, who is represented in the island by the Lieutenant-Governor. Past governors have included member of the De Carteret family of Jersey, the Andros family of Guernsey, from whom it was inherited by the Le Mesurier family who established a hereditary line of governors that lasted until 1825.

During the 19th Century, the British Government decided to construct a major harbour as part of its defence of the islands against the threat of attacks from France. These were not completed, although the breakwater remains the longest in United Kingdom. The construction efforts brought many labourers and their families to the island.

It was almost completely evacuated during the German Occupation of the Channel Islands. Four concentration camps were built on the island, including Lager Sylt an SS-run death camp.

The island has one parish St Anne.

A cattle market in Alderney in the 1900s. This photograph has such a French 'feel' to it


Picture gallery


T H White's 1957 novel The Master was set in Alderney, and was serialised on television in 1965-66.

Riduna by Diana Jackson, published in 2009, is set in Alderney. Its title is derived from the Roman name for the island.


  • Bliss, Jane, Vignalis, patron of Alderney, RGS, 2006
  • Bonnard, Brian, Alderney in the 17th Century, RGS, 2 parts, 1999
  • Bonnard, Brian, Alderney's Armorial Bearings, RGS, 1994
  • Bonnard, Brian, Alderney Celebrates VE Day, RGS, 1995
  • Bonnard, Brian, Alderney's Elizabethan Wreck, RGS, 1997
  • Bonnard, Brian, Alderney Never Changes, RGS, 1994
  • Bonnard, Brian, Escape from Alderney, RGS, 1994
  • Bonnard, Brian, The Alderney 'Domesday' Book, RGS, 1992
  • Bonnard, Brian, Three Ancient Alderney Wrecks, RGS, 1993
  • Bonnard, Jean, Alderney in the 1890s, RGS, 1998
  • Bonnard, Jean, The Alderney Cow, RGS, 1997
  • Bonnard, Jean, Queen Victoria visits Alderney, RGS, 2001
  • Bonnard, Jean, Royal Visit to Alderney RGS, 1997
  • Bonnard, Jean, When a Queen caught Essex: an Alderney legend, RGS, 1997
  • Coysh, Victor, The Alderney Museum, RGS, 1972
  • Coysh, Victor, An Alderney Easter, RGS, 1985
  • Coysh, Victor, The Forts of Alderney, RGS, 1955
  • Coysh, Victor, Trip round Alderney, RGS, 1982
  • Davies, Dorothy, Alderney, 1956, RGS, 1957
  • Fay, CR, Smuggling - an Alderney incident, RGS, 1961
  • French, FG, The case of Alderney, RGS, 1947
  • Gatrell, John The Alderney Society, RGS, 1992
  • Honey, Donald P, Preserving the Alderney Post Office valuables, RGS, 2006
  • Jackson, Diana, Background to writing 'Riduna', RGS, 2009
  • Members of the Alderney Society, The Alderney Story, RGS, 2 parts, 1968
  • Mourant, Elizabeth, Alderney, RGS, 1950
  • Ouseley, M H, Alderney's Nineteenth Century Defences, RGS, 1979
  • Ouseley, M H, Alderney's Strategic Decline, RGS, 1982
  • Ouseley, M H, Old Fortifications of Alderney, RGS, 1975
  • Ouseley, M H, The 1804 Military Survey of Alderney, RGS, 1977
  • Ouseley, M H, The Decision to build Alderney's Breakwater at Braye, RGS, 1977
  • Ouseley, M H, The Defence of Alderney, RGS, 1976
  • Ouseley, M H, The Decision to build the Forts in Alderney, RGS, 1977
  • Pinnegar, Edward, A History of Aviation in Alderney, Amberley Publishing, 2010
  • Shayer, David, T.H.White's Alderney Novel, RGS, 1992
  • Alderney Today, RGS, 1963


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